As much as other women identify themselves as Mom, I identify myself as Not a Mom. Lest we forget, Not a Mom is important too.
To be fair, I’ve had my struggles with my Not a Mom title at times. Throughout my twenties and well into my thirties, I was deeply ambivalent about the prospect of motherhood. Naturally, there was the subtle but pervasive expectation of those around me. Practically days following my wedding, inquiries of plans to have children arose. On top of that, I had coupled myself with someone who was certain he wanted children. Soon after, my friends all started having children. And while I love children, most especially when they are not mine, I wasn’t sure I was equipped to give all of myself – and then some – to another tiny little human being. And you know how they say that not taking action is actually a form of taking action? I think that’s just what I did. I kept delaying the decision until there was no decision to be made.
I used to spend a lot of time, though, thinking about the prospect of adding children into my life. I had always thought that if I were going to have children, I would prefer to take on a foster-to-adopt scenario. I guess it appealed to the Social Worker in me. My thought process was that if I adopted a child who came from some set of terrible circumstances, I could give it an amazing life it probably never would have otherwise had. Conversely, I thought, if I had my own child, it would come out perfect and all I could do was ruin it. You can see why the only decision I could make about motherhood was to not make one. It’s probably best that things turned out as they did.
But I need to point out that by being Not a Mom, I can make unique contributions to the world. I am able to work as many long hours and with as much ballsiness as a man, all the while incorporating the softer and more compassionate world view of a woman into my work. I can grab onto and fiercely protect the image of an independent woman, and furthermore role model this capacity for other women around me who have struggled to find their own way. I am able to fulfill my need to nurture by taking care of animals, my employees, my friends and my family in my own enduring and loving ways. Because I am Not a Mom, I will always have the time and the resources to spend time with the people who love me and need me the most – even at a moment’s notice, and even in some spectacular ways. Last but certainly not least, I will always work the week between Christmas and New Year’s, every year, so people with children can be at home with their families (and who, at the end of said week, will admit they couldn’t wait to come back to work). You can even count on good old Not a Mom to stay late and finish that important project when you have to leave because little Johnny threw up in gym class.
So for all you moms out there, please know that you have my utmost respect. You are doing what I am not sure I could ever do. You are patient, loving, giving teachers of our youth, and your sacrifice is making this world a better place. As for me, I am on a different path, and I am doing what you probably aren’t sure you could ever do. Today, while you are doted on with flowers, breakfast in bed and hand-made cards, I’m going to spend the day celebrating Not a Mom’s Day. I think I will take a walk by the lake, do a little shopping, see a movie or maybe even take a long, decadent, uninterrupted nap. That’s what you get to do when you are Not a Mom. It’s beautiful in its own way.